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Halloween HAQ in Review
by Kwahevoda

On October 31st of this year, an historical event took place hidden within Ashton Park in the fair city of Medievia. Hero autoquests were finally introduced to the masses.

Struggling hard for weeks, a select group of devoted autoquest writers and two coders put into effect a dream finally realized. Obviously, the quests offered to level 124s needed to involve more heroic efforts than the more generic holiday autoquest. With a bit of help from other members of the staff on a few of the many rooms, Celylia worked day in and out to come up with a suitable enough challenge to place in front of the heroes. When asked about what we can expect from further holiday HAQs, she replied (with an evil giggle), ďItís going to be hard. Like, Ďpull your hair outí hard! We have never required so much of the players in an AQ before. I just hope they all realize you really have to read in a text based game.Ē

Kudos should be given to the coders, who craft the procs and effects. Without their efforts, the autoquests would have been unable to be fully implemented and have to have been postponed. A hearty thanks goes first out to Xilaos, who is the one who made hero AQs possible in the first place! With his help and efforts, the plan to slowly place in more and more HAQs can finally happen. He is the coding mastermind behind all the projects that will soon be taking place within our realm. For the specific alloween HAQ, a special thank you to Kostia who was able to save the plans at the last moment and took time out of her busy schedule to make sure we all were able to participate on Halloween itself. Even the gods need to take breaks at points from Medievia to concentrate on the important things in their lives outside the game, and we wish good luck to those that do. At these times is when the staff really tries to pull together even tighter to help make sure everything goes on task for the players. Sadly, just about all the jargon that goes along with the life of a coder still remains a mystery to me, so I cannot expound upon their professions more.

One more person behind the scenes that should be thanked as well is the proofer. These are the ones who attempt to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb and check for spelling, grammar, and double check that every piece of code dealing with mobs, objects, and the like is used properly. Imagine trying to double-check that last autoquest, with all its multiple bits and pieces and mob chatter and the like! With knowledge that the upcoming ones are only going to get more complicated and more in depth, this job can become almost as tedious as trying to create the original points of origin within the storyline in the first place. Reuan is being relied upon heavily for numerous quality assurances that editors have the mission to achieve. Not only is he working within the HAQ field of the department and the flood of new quests that are constantly being plied into the submission forum, but he also is to undertake the task of tidying up many of the quests already within the game! Within these facets he has numerous jobs, such as: validation, code checking, flag checking, point calculation, proofing and tweaking of basic errors within spelling and grammar, and making time to leave feedback for those who are still with the staff on their current autoquests submitted. It is a monumental task for a titan of a mortal.

Of this first-time opportunity, only 72 people completed it out of the 102 that tried. Some felt it wasnít ďworth the timeĒ (3 abandoned), others were intrigued by the bold challenge set forth by the gods, and responded with fervor, coveting the newest medal, but were unable to meet the challenge (27 failed). Obviously, some felt it was easy, some annoying, and that it was just too difficult. Some even felt it was unfair they didnít get a chance to be one of those who did the player testing! In the end, the majority of the feedback was positive and very well-received. The gods are always willing to listen to ideas on how to make the next one even much better, and to discuss what problems arose during the trial quest.

If you feel that you really wish to volunteer to help with testing of quests, by all means keep a close watch on the immortal channel as the time for a holiday draws near. There is almost always an open-call invitation to any hero who wishes to come onto the test port and try it out, all of whom are asked are keep a closed-mouth about the details of the quest.Why bother taking on a quest if you donít wish to try to fulfill it with your wits? Having hints is helpful and fun, but going purely on second-hand knowledge doesnít seem very heroic. If youíre truly stuck and the item is not Find Original, itís understandable to ask someone to auction it and purchase. Surely you attempted to earn that money in a very heroic manner at some point. Autoquests are here for MLR, yes, but as a hero you are in no way required to do them. If it wonít be fun for you to give it a try, thatís okay, you donít have to feel like youíre obliged to take on this challenge. However, you should feel thankful to those who spent hours of time making it possible for you to pursue that avenue if you desired to take that course.

Some tips that I found many people didnít use during the last quest which might help with future ones:

If a mob is chattering, it probably will eventually have something important to say. Explore the realm created specifically for the autoquest, the gods LOVE hidden rooms. Itís still ok for heroes to have BRIEF off in new areas. Just because you think you know the ONLY place on which an item loads, you could easily be wrong as thereís coding to try to smooth the way for numerous heroes to complete tasks at one time. If an item looks familiar, sounds familiar, but you believe you canít access it due to your level, there is probably a new loophole created just for this task hidden somewhere within the other sections of the quest. Take your time on every part with the more than adequate time youíre given; the gods get a sadistic thrill out of having random things like death traps for those who donít bother paying attention to the clues given to them. Feel free NOT to believe other people and figure the hints out yourself, as this may keep you from finding yourself in said deathtrap. These were some of the mistakes players make time and again.

In the end, it was indeed a new kind of challenge. So, hereís my personal ďthank youĒ to all the hard workers of the staff, especially: Casse, Celylia, and Reuan, who make it their priority to have holiday AQs for everyone, big and small. Celylia for all her efforts to get everything in place for the big day, and Casse for wielding the whip to keep Celylia on task, and Reuan for making sure that all confusion amongst the coding didnít reign supreme!

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